HTC Desire review: A desire come true

GSMArena team, 16 April 2010.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Organizer (continued)

The World clock app allows you to quickly check the time in different time zones, while the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy if you plan to take the Desire with you when doing sports.

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World clock

The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance.

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The Stocks app

The Voice recorder might be pretty useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo’s weather forecast for your area a click away.

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Making a voice memo with the Voice recorder

Finally, Facebook and Twitter fans will appreciate the preinstalled Facebook and Peep apps, which allows you to update your profile on the world’s largest social networks. Not that you couldn’t have downloaded it yourselves but it’s nice that HTC saved you the effort.

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The Facebook and Peep apps let you update your Facebook and Tweeter profiles

GPS navigation lacks voice-guidance

The HTC Desire comes with a built-in GPS receiver. It got satellite lock in just over two minutes without the A-GPS on, which isn’t bad at all.

Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and of course makes an appearance on the Desire as well. Its voice-guided navigation version, the Google Maps Navigation is available only in the US, but the rest of the world is in no luck here.

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Google Maps is an incoherent part of the Android platform

You can still plan a route and track your current location so it is better than nothing but you still have to rely on network data for downloading the map info. Pinch-zooming works like a charm, but you also have the on-screen controls and double-tap zooming.

The Street View mode is supported in Google Maps and it’s probably the most fun part of Google Maps - it gives you a 360-degree view of the surroundings where it’s available. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like you’re taking a virtual tour of the location.

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The Street view is quite impressive indeed

There isn’t another preinstalled navigation application, so if you want one, you will have to visit the Android market and pick one yourselves.

Android Market keeps growing

HTC Desire runs Android 2.1 and the Android Market has quite a lot to offer. With the number of applications growing by the hour and no low-res restrictions, the choice of apps is quite impressive.

The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and above them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.

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The Android Market will give you access to more than 30 000 applications

The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option of displaying them all at once, but you will probably need days to browse them all that way.

Searching is very easy – just tap the search button, type what you’re looking for (e.g. “navigation”). From then on, it’s pretty easy to choose – each app has a rating, a short description by the author, user comments and screenshots.

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Each app has a short description, screenshots and user comments

There are all kinds of apps on the Android market and with the most vital ones covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.), the advantage of the market-leading AppStore may be less prominent.

Of course, 30000 or so apps is nowhere near what the iPhone users have at their disposal but no one actually installs thousands of apps so you will probably find what you are looking for here too. Besides, the Android market is the one with the largest percentage of free apps across all platforms and thousands apps are cooking or waiting approval right now.

Tweaks and modding

The HTC Desire has 512MB ROM and almost 80% of it is used or reserved for the Android OS. This leaves you with 120MB free space for all your apps and games. As you may know, the Android OS still doesn’t support installation on memory cards or even extended inbuilt storage (such as the 8/16 GB of the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S, which are listed as internal drive). So you have only 120MB to install what you need.

It’s true that Android apps on the Market are generally small (0.5 – 2 MB), but still it’s a shame for a high-end device like the Desire to have limited internal storage. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 comes with 1GB, almost half of which is user-available. HTC could have done better for the Desire.

Anyway, there is only one workaround for getting apps to install on your memory card and it starts with rooting your device. However success is not guaranteed on the HTC Desire, so far the steps have only been tested on the G1 and the Nexus One.

When it comes to hacking your smartphone, always make sure you know what you're doing and that you have a backup plan in case things go wrong. Good luck with modding the HTC Desire.

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